Developed and Published by Dali Games, Lucid Dream is a classic 2D point-and-click adventure game. As someone who is a fan of such games, I was pretty excited to see another entry into what is an often overlooked genre. Lucid Dream does a fairly good job at scratching that itch, being both good to look at and not overly frustrating, but does have some issues that may turn away people who are not as familiar with this style of game.
Lucid Dream is available on Steam for 14.99
Lucid Dream has the player take the reigns of Lucy, a wheelchair-bound girl who lives with her mother. Lucy’s mother is seemingly stressed out to the point of mania, and the only way Lucy knows how to help her is to go into her dreams and try and discover the answer there. In her dreams, Lucy is able to walk and travels through multiple different worlds and meets various colorful characters. As the story goes on the player slowly realizes things are not as simple as they seem when you start.
There aren’t really that many noteworthy characters in the game. Lucy’s personality boils down to “gotta help mom” while said mother is basically only shown either having a nervous breakdown or about to have a nervous breakdown. The only other recurring character in the game, who I won’t name to avoid spoilers, is so clearly up to something that you’ll want to strangle Lucy for trusting him on anything.
The game's themes are fairly reminiscent of other popular Indie titles like Limbo and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. The player takes control of a child character who is suffering from a chronic case of dead and/or absent parents, ala Brothers, and finds themselves in ever darker and more dangerous situations, ala Limbo. The game tries to have some twists to it, but most of them are so telegraphed beforehand you would need to be blind to not see them coming. It works on in a vacuum, but to call the concepts original would be a bit of a stretch.
Lucid Dream is, as mentioned before, a point-and-click, and as such the gameplay ultimately comes down to the logic used behind the puzzles. In this regard, the game is a bit of a mixed bag. Some puzzles are fairly easy to follow, while there are some where you would have to be suffering a recent head injury to get the logic used in solving it. Another point to note would be the clue system the game has.
To give an example of the latter, there is a puzzle where you have to turn lights off and on with a fuse box to maneuver around a giant spider. The game lets you know, “hey the spider hates light” and that Lucy won’t go where the spider can get her. It takes a bit of thought, but it’s not something where you would spend an hour trying to solve, give up, look at a guide, and then get mad.
In contrast, here’s an example of a puzzle solution that nearly destroyed my patience. Find a vine, find an elephant tusk, combine the items, and then use them to lasso a miniature planet. You may be thinking, “Well, this probably makes more sense in the context of the game” and the answer to that statement is no, it absolutely does not. This, alongside having to scour the map for the one, tiny, item you need to progress, becomes really frustrating.
In fairness, the former of the two is definitely the majority of the game, but there is just enough of the bizarre solutions that they become noticeable. Overall it’s not a dealbreaker, but for someone who isn’t really into these types of games, it may very well be the thing that makes them decide to just stop playing.
Another thing in the game that is very hit or miss is the clue system. Essentially, depending on what difficulty level you choose at the start, you will get a clue to the current puzzle you’re on in the player’s notebook at set time intervals. Sometimes these are really helpful, but they also just turn into “Hey, you know that thing you’re doing? Well just do the thing”. This, and the fact it will usually exclude clues for the final parts of an area, make the clue system somewhat unreliable.
Graphics and Sound
Due to its premise, taking place in a child's dreams, Lucid Dream had a lot of potential as to how weird it could get with its art style. And much like the gameplay, this is also a bit of a mixed bag. For the most part, things don’t really go all out crazy until the very end of the game. Otherwise, a lot of it goes just short of being the kind of bizarre the game could have used to stand out more.
The art also has some very clear influences from art and literature. The clearest of these would be Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, with the main character having a fair resemblance to the titular Alice. Overall the art is well done, but as mentioned above, nothing that really makes it stand out among other games in similar settings.
Sound-wise, the game is ok. Each level has its own music track, which for the most part helps the player either relax during downtime or get tense during high tension moments. The biggest problem with the music would be that the tracks are just short enough for the player to notice the loop. Again, it’s not terrible, but nothing that people will be begging for an OST for.
Lucid Dream is a bit of a mixed bag. While the gameplay is solid enough, the story and aesthetics are themselves very run of the mill. For someone who is a fan of point-and-clicks, maybe pick up at a discount. Otherwise, I don’t know if this would be a game I would recommend to people who are a bit colder on the genre.
|+ Gameplay is solid||– Clue system is unreliable|
|– Nothing to really set itself apart|